Thought of the day: why do people think that meta commentary about their ‘role’ in a debate, or about their way of tackling a question, or about their ideological standpoint on something, absolves them of assuming responsibility for what they say or how they think?
“I hate to be ‘that guy’ in the conversation, but…”
“I’m an x, it’s nothing personal or anything, but there’s just no point arguing with me about y.”
“Oh, come on. I’m a z. What else did you expect?”
It’s as if, with a sort of existential irony that perhaps only the French can really master, they’ve just shrugged their shoulders with a smarmy, faux-tragic smile and a face with ‘tant pis’ written all over it, and said, “This is me, this is the role that I occupy in society, this is what the invisible, deterministic forces of evolution have made me into; out of this I speak, and in reality I have no freedom to speak any other way. You have no right to hold me accountable for what I say; because what I say is what I am, and what I am is something that I am powerless to stop or change.”
To which I say, what a load of postmodern codswallop. If you’ve got this far into a conversation then you’re a reasoning human being; not a baby, and not someone so mentally ill that they can’t be held responsible for their actions. Yes, the world is mapped out by God’s Sovereign design, and yes, you are capable of making meaningful choices within that design. You who are so eager to declare that you won’t be pigeonholed under a socially-constructed label when you feel your toes are being stepped on – yes, you there in the corner! I hear your plea. Now if you want to be taken seriously and be your ‘own person’, if you insist on proving to the world that you’re a self-made and self-determining human being who doesn’t need a God or a system or anyone to tell you what you are, then start by facing up to the fact that you won’t have credibility unless you personally own the things that you say and do, no matter what you say you are. Do not decry labels and stereotypes and frames of reference then turn back to them when it suits. Nail your colours to the mast. You defy social construction? Fine. Be what you are; own what you say. Were you “just sayin'”? Then try saying it a little louder so that we can all hear you.